Feature Life

What’s On My Desk: Kelly Anderson

Kelly Anderson
Kelly Anderson (Image: Cara Smith/Huddle Today)

Doing what she does for a living, it’s no surprise that Kelly Anderson’s home office space is something straight out of a home decor magazine.

Under her company Refreshed Designs, a space and lifestyle design business, Anderson helps people design the life they want and create environments that support it both through one-on-one coaching and her website. Anderson works with clients both locally and across North America and Europe.

We stopped by Anderson’s space to find out if she practices what she preaches to her clients.

What sort of work do you do out of this space?

I’m mostly an online entrepreneur. I call myself a lifestyle and space designer so I took interior design. I was also in marketing and communications so that’s my background but as a hobby, I liked doing interior design work and decorating so I took an interior design course.

I’ve been finding more and more that I like serving the online space, helping people both locally and wherever through my website to help them figure out what they want to do for their lifestyle. A lot of people are way too busy these days, they’re complaining that they’re stressed and overwhelmed and that their home becomes overwhelming too. I think that home should be a place where they can come home and unwind and get rid of all that stress and help them live a healthier life, more balanced life. It sort of turned into a lifestyle and design coaching kind of website.

I do one-on-one coaching. I talk to them and Skype with them to see their space and I find out what kind of needs they have, so do they entertain a lot, is it a place that they’re using with their family, all that kind of stuff and how to find a way to help them make their home more calming, setup functionally better to work for them so it’s easier for them, so it supports good habits for them like sleeping better, getting off the phone so much, maybe not so much screen time, just helping to calm it down, make home the true oasis it should be.

How are the concepts you work with represented in your workspace?

I try to live what I preach because of course, I get busy a lot of times. I work during the day and I come home stressed. You can get caught up in that kind of stuff so easily so I really try to reinforce my own environments so that it helps me continue with good habits as well.

This space has to be light and bright for me. If it’s dark, I find I can’t work. I’m not inspired. It feels like I’m lethargic more when I’m in a dark area so it’s got to be nice and light and bright so that’s why I chose this room… I have lots of plants. Both visually to connect me more with the natural world but also because it cleans the air.

I’ve got a chair that I’m comfortable in and I switch back and forth between standing and sitting. I’ll set my timer on my phone for every couple hours so it dings on me and that reminds me to stand up otherwise I could be here eight hours a day and not even get up…

Is there anything you surround yourself with to be productive?

A clean decluttered space. I use lots of boxes, bowls and trays to keep things in so that they’re handy when I need them but also pretty and contained. The combination of functional, natural and interesting is what inspires me daily as I’m working.

So it’s more of what you don’t have?

That’s a good way to put it, what I don’t have. Clutter and noise. I have to have mostly silence. Once in a while, I’ll put on some soft classical type music if I’m in a creative type of zone working on stuff but most of the time I’m writing so I have to have complete silence and it has to be clutter free. I don’t have papers around and a whole bunch of stuff all over the place. I like to make sure everything’s in its place. For me, a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind.

I like to surround myself with natural, textural things, like the old barn boards on my desk and locker top. These boards came from my grandfather’s farm built in 1800’s rural New Brunswick. My dad and I built the desk ourselves. The old wood is just so interesting and imperfectly beautiful. I used the wood to also make my company sign hanging on the wall and the little magnetic pin board for post-it notes above my computer. These things are meaningful so they help keep me focused on the important things in life when work gets crazy.

Has anything inspired the way you’ve put together this space?

It’s just evolved over what I’ve learned suits me best over the years. I’ve learned I need to be in light, bright spaces because I’ve been in ones before where I’ve had no choice and worked in dark places that I just haven’t worked to my full potential. So definitely that. I like modern and comfort. I’m certainly not a minimalist but I call my style essentialism. I also have the essential things around me that I need for comfort and productivity. I have my files and things I need handy so I can just turn around and grab them when I need them but it’s also comfortable… I make sure to have the functional comforting stuff first and then I add in the stuff on the walls and the beautiful stuff as the very last thing that I do.

Anything else you’d like us to know about the space?

I like setting up my work space as if it’s my living space. [I] spend a lot of time here so it’s got to be comfortable, even the spaces that I have working for employers in the past, I’ve made sure to make it comfortable, try to make it as light and bright as possible.